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Letters from students

 
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Heidi Maiers
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 1223
Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:36 pm    Post subject: Letters from students Reply with quote

I get a ton of these types of letters from all over the world from students doing some report or school assignment and asking for answers to a list of questions.

Until recently, I've always taken the time to answer them thoroughly, but rather than do that, I think I'll start posting them on the forum so that anyone who wants to and has time to provide feedback may do so. Eventually, I hope their is enough information and questions answered here that I can direct people to this page and not have to answer the same questions over and over.

I guess my brain is just too tired these days when I get home from a stressful day of work and then feel obligated to spend more time on the computer typing instead of sculpting. (Even my boss said today she can tell I've been really stressed out lately from being stretched too thin and promises to hire a person to reduce my load as soon as she finds someone qualified!)

Here's the first list to start off this topic. I'll email them this link so they can watch for any responses:

" About sculptures of humans"

My name is --- and I'm currently studying art at ---. At the moment I'm writing an essay on the subject ”Sculpting human faces”.

I'm writing to you because I think your a distinguished and skilled sculptor and I would like to ask you some questions. I would be very greatful if you took the time to answer them.

1. What is it in making sculptures of humans that interests you?

2. According to you, what makes a good sculpture of the human face? I'm not only thinking about portraits of actual people but more about all sculptures of the human head. What do you think makes such work interesting?

3. What do you think makes a good portrait?

4. Which skills do you think a sculptor aiming for working with depiction of faces need to evolve?

My sincere thanks in advance!
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Thaine Sprenger



Joined: 28 Feb 2009
Posts: 103
Location: Coolidge AZ

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:12 am    Post subject: Re: Letters from students Reply with quote

Heidi Maiers wrote:
1. What is it in making sculptures of humans that interests you?

2. According to you, what makes a good sculpture of the human face? I'm not only thinking about portraits of actual people but more about all sculptures of the human head. What do you think makes such work interesting?

3. What do you think makes a good portrait?

4. Which skills do you think a sculptor aiming for working with depiction of faces need to evolve?

My sincere thanks in advance!


I'm waiting for a response on another site, so some time... I'll ans for me...
1. Interests...
It's when a piece comes 'alive', and isn't like a photo reproduction, but has some essence of the person.
And there is discovering the many ways of doing that.
And then... that the work is physically there and can be held and touched in in the round.
Also the process itself, of going from clay to something created... yields joy and satisfaction.
And you know, there is a business side you can develop as a sculptor too. It's a connection to people.

2. What makes it good as well as interesting?
That and #3 are similar... the ans to that is personal taste.
Another part of the ans is my response to question #4 -- which is 'process'. It's knowing the anatomy and being able to find a way that allows you to create the product you want... or the process where sometimes something just 'happens'... but the best things that seen to just happen correlate to doing a lot of work, and probably being good at it, or at least knowing when to stop.
There is a lot of technique that can be taught, but the true 'art' part... you either have it, or you don't have it. Most don't think you can teach it.
Personally, I think that if not taught, it can be 'caught' by being around art and good teachers,
but even without that gift, you can enjoy creating sculpture.
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Heidi Maiers
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 1223
Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response Thaine. I agree with all that you said.
For me, humans are interesting because they are all so similar, yet so vastly different. All have the basic structure, but the variation is infinite. It's fun to explore the sum of forms as an expression in clay.
Also, to me, a good sculpture is one that has life and movement. It's not bogged down with extreme detail, but is representative of that person in a lively and artistic way. I like to see part of the artist in the work as expressed with various "brushstrokes" as it were. Capturing a slight, but not exhagerrated expression can speak volumes and is more intriguing than either a stone face expression, or a distorted charicature of obvious emotion.
Of course, correct anatomy is also vital. Even though faces are all so different, they all share the same rules of anatomy and all have the same number of parts (bones, muscles, tendons, etc.). If any of the rules are broken, then it's obvious to the viewer that something is wrong - even if they can't put their finger on it. A proficient portrait sculpture should at least be aware of every bone and muscle in the head that they are sculpting. You don't necesarrily have to know the names of each, just that they exist. Knowing which muscles will contract with movement is also helpful and leads to a better end result.
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